I think the term “functional training” offers a brand name to exercise that really helps sell fitness to folks who have no intention on joining a gym and lifting like hardcore lifters. The term itself allows the flexibility to applied to every single person despite the numerous goals they may have.
That being it is at the very essence for which people hire trainers. Anyone who buys personal fitness services is asking for exercises and workouts designed for what they do and who they are. That is what functional fitness is.
hope this helps,
It comes down to what the client’s goals are, his fitness level, medical issues, does he/she have previous injuries, availability of equipment at the location where the training takes place, etc. These are the factors I look for when I design a program for a client and not what the newest trend is out there. Functional training is great, but it’s not always the best or only type of training the client needs.
A client’s goals are important. If they want maximum strength and hypertrophy, I’m going to have them lifting weights at a level that’s challenging for them. However, we live in tri-planar motion, so even a person who wants to get bigger and stronger can benefit from tri-planar training.
Personally, I’ve gotten away from “functional” training because it’s so over-used and generalized. I like to use the term “triplanar” training to indicate that I’m challenging each joint in all of the planes that it stabilizes and moves. Multi-joint, multi-directional. Not as challenging from a “heavy lifting” sense, but very rich in a proprioceptive sense.
Functional movements improve everyday life for many of my clients, from those recovering from hip and knee replacement to collegiate athletes and everyone in between. I’ve also seen powerlifters, pre- and post-natal populations, and the average everyday working stiff benefit from such exercises. When I first began using functional training in my own workouts ten or so years ago, I found that my squat, bench, dead lifts etc. improved in terms of range of motion as well as strength. I’ve never looked back.
As several others have said, ‘functional training’ is a very broad term, but I’ll assume you’re refering to exercises using little or no weights. I include those exercises using unorthodox equipment like ropes, bands, med balls & yoga balls in the ‘functional’ category as well. I agree that cardiovascular fitness and weight bearing exercises as well as flexibility training are the foundation of any great workout program, but they don’t necessarily prepare us for real life. Most clients that I’ve trained post-injury were hurt during lateral, diagonal, or rotational movements (which are difficult to replicate using traditional weight room training). By teaching them to maintain their body alignment through some of these less popular planes of motion, many can prevent re-injury. I’ve also heard of functional training refered to as “Prehab”. That is, by incorporating movements like these the risk of injury is reduced, as is the “Rehab” that said injury would require.